In some cases, it is necessary to obtain a small piece of tissue from the spine in order to perform microscopic studies. This is particularly true in cases of spinal tumors to determine if a lesion is benign, malignant, or infected. Biopsies are usually taken with a needle through a small incision without direct visualization of the tumor. In many cases, surgeons use CT scans or X-ray images to guide the needle into the correct location. This process involves additional radiation and in some cases it can be difficult to find the right spot for the biopsy. Robot-guidance allows our surgeons at the Virginia Spine Institute to pinpoint the exact location for the biopsy reducing the amount of radiation and the time needed for surgery.